Auckland Council has confirmed the tracks in Waitākere Ranges Regional Park that will be upgraded and reopened over the next five years.
This forward work programme has been developed following a public consultation held earlier this year.
Regional Parks Manager Rachel Kelleher says the plan gives clarity to park users, Waitākere residents and staff.
“We are pleased to confirm the work programme through to 2024 and look forward to continuing to upgrade tracks to kauri-safe standard,” she says.
“Our focus has always been providing the best possible balance between kauri protection and recreation and we believe this will be delivered.
“The final programme has been determined from public feedback, input from Te Kawerau a Maki and workshop discussions with the Waitākere Ranges Local Board.”
Chair of the Environment and Community Committee and Waitākere Ward Councillor Penny Hulse says; “The upgrade work outlined in this plan will be substantially funded by Aucklanders through the Natural Environment Targeted Rate. It will ensure that these beautiful tracks, and precious kauri trees, in a special part of our region can be enjoyed by generations to come.”
Changes following public feedback
“Through the public consultation process, the importance of having walking opportunities accessible to local communities was emphasised along with the desire for loop tracks and links between tracks”
“We’ve added eight tracks to the work programme that weren’t in the draft, including three proposed new tracks that will provide links and loops to expand the visitor offering, says Ms Kelleher.
“We can also confirm that Cutty Grass Track, McElwain Lookout Track and Spragg Bush Walk will now be upgraded and have been prioritised for early opening.”
“We recognise that some people will be disappointed that certain tracks have not been included. Many of these tracks run through high-value kauri areas and opening them now based on current information would create a high risk of the disease spreading further,” she says.
There are also seven tracks that were mentioned by several submitters that have been identified for further investigation to determine whether partial re-opening could be undertaken.
“Piha Valley Track is one that had a lot of support from the public, but there are extensive areas of kauri along some sections of the track. Opening a section of track along the stream to provide a shorter walk opportunity may however be a possibility.”
The future of other closed tracks will be considered as part of the Regional Parks Management plan review next year.